The following is a summary of activities undertaken on the recent media tour  sponsored  in New Jersey by the Garden State Wine Growers Association from Oct. 25-29, 2020.

Tour Highlights:

Sunday, Oct 25 – Early attendees were treated to a whale watching excursion with a reception following at the La Mer Beachfront Resort in Cape May that was hosted by Diane Wieland, long- time Director of Cape May County Tourism and Cape May Mayor Clarence “Chuck” Lear III. Dr. Gary Pavlis of Rutgers gave a talk about NJ terroir.  The media dined that evening at the Blue Pig Tavern located in the famous Congress Hall. Guests stayed overnight at The Sea Crest Inn.


Diane Wieland, Cape County Tourism Director and Cape May Mayor Chuck Lear address the media; seafood appetizers at La Mer Restaurant

Monday, Oct 26 – Media toured two wineries in the Cape May Peninsula AVA, Cape May Winery and Hawk Haven Vineyard in addition to a private tour of the Harriet Tubman Museum. A lunch of fresh caught seafood was on the docket at Oar House Pub in Sea Isle City. Following lunch the writers traveled north to the Outer Coastal Plain AVA region to White Horse Winery in Hammonton where owner BJ Vinton and winemaker Seferino Cotzojay and vineyard manager Edward Sparks conducted a tour and tasting followed by a dinner prepared by Chef David Murray of DenimBYOB in Haddonfield at the White Horse Winery Farmhouse B&B. All of the media stayed at the Farmhouse.


Winemaker Mike Mitchell answers questions from the media at Cape May Winery; Winemaker Seferino Cotzojay and owner BJ Vinton showcase Chambourcin grapes at White Horse Winery

Tuesday, Oct 27 – Media caravanned back to the Outer Coastal Plain AVA to Millville, NJ in Cumberland County where they toured and conducted a tasting at Cedar Rose Vineyards hosted by owners Dustin Tarpine and Steven Becker. Following the visit to Cedar Rose the next stop on the caravan was to Auburn Road Vineyards in Pilesgrove, Salem County. There husband and wife owners Scott and Jules Donnini gave a tour and tasting and then media lunched on brick oven pizza made at the winery.  Rosé wines from several wineries in the state were also sampled at lunch.

Following lunch, Dan Ward and Larry Coia, authors of Wine Grape Varieties for New Jersey gave a talk on varietals excelling in NJ.

Media then headed to William Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill in Gloucester County where Rich Heritage of the Heritage family guided reporters in a tasting.

The next stop was a visit to the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University where a guide explained the dinosaur and fossil dig that is underway and plans to develop a museum on this historic site.

Prior to dinner, media checked into the Courtyard by Marriott Glassboro Rowan University. Dinner that evening was at the Cecil Creek Farm in Gloucester County.  Chef Mark Ulrich prepared a five course meal. Four wines from different NJ wineries were served with each course.

The event was attended by Douglas Fisher, NJ Secretary of Agriculture and Jeffrey Vasser, Executive Director at NJ Division of Travel & Tourism. State of New Jersey.

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Scott and Jules Donnini of Auburn Road Vineyards give a tour of their vineyard; Media tour the Edelman Fossil Park

Wednesday, Oct 28 – saw the media visit Atlantic County, NJ for tours of Bellview Winery in Landisville, Tomasello Winery and Sharrott Winery in Hammonton and Amalthea Cellars in Atco.

At Bellview, owner Jim Quarella showcased the first commercial harvest of a grape variety new to the US, San Marco, giving the media a barrel sampling. Tomasello Winery in Hammonton then hosted the media for lunch and a tour and the writers then visited Sharrott Winery and Amalthea Cellars.

It was then time to leave the Outer Coastal Plain AVA and head north to Hunterdon County for a dinner with the member wineries of The Winemakers Co-Op. The Co-Op was created by five wineries to promote the fine wine movement in the state: Beneduce Vineyards, Hawk Haven Vineyards, Unionville Vineyards, William Heritage Winery, and Working Dog Winery. Media stayed at Main St. Manor in Flemington and Inn at Glencairn in Princeton.


The Sharrotts conduct a tasting at Sharrott Winery and  Jim Quarella, owner of Bellview Winery pours a sample of the new varietal San Marco

Thursday, Oct 29 – The final day of the tour saw tours and tastings conducted at Unionville Vineyards, Beneduce Vineyards, and Mount Salem Vineyards in Hunterdon County and Alba Vineyard in Warren County in the Warren Hills AVA.


The wines of Unionville Vineyards; Mike Beneduce gives a tasting at Beneduce Vineyards